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Sunday 22 November 2009

Autumnal musings.....

Nothing much to say at the moment. I'm afraid I'm still battling some Evil Virus that has been circulating around the island along with other colds etc. Hardly anyone has avoided one or the other. Some days I'm feeling better, then seem to relapse into feeling "wabbit" (a wonderful Scottish term for feeling exhausted and unwell and nothing to do with Bugs Bunny, nor indeed Jonathan Ross). So apart from working and sleeping I'm not doing much....sigh..... This will therefore be a rambling "autumnal musings" type post!

Time check - in Orkney today the sunrise was at 0818 and sunset is at 1537. Whereas in London sunrise was 7.30 and sunset will be 1603. Quite a difference over even a few hundred miles. That always amazes me. I mean I *know* all about the earth's curve etc etc, but still fascinates me.

It's also getting to the time of year when the "Merry Dancers" make an appearance (local name for the Northern Lights). I've signed up with "Aurora Watch" which is run by Lancaster University and I get an email warning of potential activity so I can remember to go out at night and take a look! We do get displays throughout the winter, though not on a par with those seen in about 2003 which were fantastic, with brilliant reds and greens shimmering in curtains across the sky. More recently the displays have been white shimmering lights on the northern horizon. Still beautiful, but not with the ethereal beauty of the reds and greens.

I love the quality of light at this time of year, that lights up the interior of the house with a soft sunlit glow. Those days I treasure compared to grey dark days. Though to be fair we haven't had to deal with the weather extremes of those south who have been battling appalling conditions of torrential rain. We've had lots of rain and it's very wet and soggy underfoot but otherwise it's been a pretty good autumn so far, with some intermittent gales.

A lot of birds have either migrated or fallen silent for the winter now. There are still lapwings around and various birds along the shore but very few calls are heard. I haven't seen an Oyster catcher for ages though they are resident here all year round. Meanwhile the blackbirds and sparrows have been enjoying the rose-hips from the rosa rugosa.

Georgeous George, the new cockerel, has finally found his voice. Though, um, I think he has been reading the wrong script as it sounds more like "Twit-Twoo" thank "Cock-a-doodle-do"..... he also doesn't seem to want to perch at night and instead crouches down in the corner of the hen house. I keep putting him on the perch once it's dark - oh no really please don't ask...., but he persists in sitting down on the floor. I fear for his health as the floor tends to be damp but - well short of tieing him to the perch there's not much I can do!!

The regular brown hens who have been here all summer are being really horrid to the new hens - they pull chunks of feathers out of the new girls if they so much as dare look at the food till the regular brown hens have finished! Gorgeous George seems to enjoy escorting the brown hens around, and the new Light Sussex hens tend to still stay near the hen house. I'm hoping once the new hens mature they will move about as one flock. That has certainly happened in the past.

And here is a picture of Button, as Rosie wanted to see her markings more closely. She is a very pretty cat with lovely soft fur. She was a rescue cat from Westray (via Cats Protection) and has been here a whole year now. She is very entertaining (apart from when she brings home her lunch - still alive).


  1. I do love the Merry Dancers, and just wish we could see them in our area (but without the cold, etc.). And I love the name. Also "wabbit".

  2. Close-up Button is a bit different from Henry. She's rounder and whiter round the front. I'll try and post up a photo of hm on my blog - but he's not very photogenic!!

    Rosie x

  3. Hi Sian -
    I love your blog, don't read it very often but you write well and paint lovely word pictures of Graemsay, as well as actual photos. Also Button, she looks very much like my girl, Lois Lane. (She's so plush, she feels like a stuffed animal.)I hope you're over your Evil Virus now and into the holiday spirit.
    Kind regards, Charlie Petersen from Port Townsend, WA USA